3Qs: Sherrie Cochran – environmental planner, city of Tupelo

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

Sherrie Cochran, Tupelo’s environmental planner, promotes and encourages the city’s residents to take seriously the appearance of their yards and business properties. City cleanup also is a focus for her department. As springtime approaches, Cochran spoke with the Daily Journal’s Patsy Brumfield about what she perceives to be a serious but solvable problem – illegal tire dumping.
Tupelo’s citywide cleanup program, in cooperation with Keep America Beautiful, is scheduled for March-May, and Cochran says more information is coming about those activities as neighborhood associations make plans to participate.

Q: What is one of your department’s most serious issues right now?
A: Illegal dumping of tires has become very serious. First, it is an eyesore and an environmental issue. But also, it poses health issues as perfect breeding grounds for all kinds of mosquitoes, which can spread serious illnesses.

Q: Can you give us an example of where this is happening?
A: One of the city’s most egregious tire dumping places is behind the Elks Club off Tolbert Street near Gumtree Park. Someone is dumping old tires there frequently and we’re warning whoever is doing that to stop. We’re setting up video surveillance and the Tupelo Police Department is working with us.
Whoever is caught dumping old tires there or anywhere else in the city will be charged with felony dumping, which can bring a $50,000-a-day fine and up to five years in jail upon conviction.
We will prosecute anyone who’s dumping old tires. It’s a blight on our city, its parks and neighborhoods. And it’s a health hazard, especially as the weather warms up.

Q: If someone has old tires near their home and wants to get rid of them, or has their own tires to dispose of, what can they do?
A: They can call us at 841-6547 and the city will pick up the tires. We don’t want them around. As for businesses that deal with old tires, there’s a small fee attached to accepting them. We don’t want any tire dumping anywhere.